The things we humans obsess over (Part 2)

So I’ve done 22 days no alcohol now, and I’m feeling pretty good. Previously I’d done 5 weeks in 2013 and that was a monumental exercise in fabulousness. But with this new-ish clarity of thought comes the inevitable reflection on just how utterly obsessed we are with the ‘demon-drink’ …..and I’ve realised how much alcohol is a knee-jerk reaction in modern western society.

 

Had a bad day? A glass of wine will sort that.
Nailed that project at work? You deserve a drink!
Survived the working week with all your limbs intact? Time for a beverage!

 

It’s like drinking is so ingrained into what we do literally day to day that it takes a concerted effort to minimise the ingrained knee-jerk reaction to relax with a drink…..

Think about it:
Oh it’s a beautiful sunny summers night, I’d better make the most of this and go out and have a beer in the sun!
Oh it’s a rainy winters night, freezing out there! I should tuck up with a yummy glass of red wine in front of the fire…

It’s the elixr for the masses, comes in all shapes and sizes, flavours and strengths, colours and packages, it picks you up when you’re down, transforms your face to a smile from a frown, helps lubricate communication all over town, makes you think you can dance and ‘get down’ – it’s what?! ALCOHOL! Yay! *cue mexican wave*

Now I don’t propose to have all the answers to this (or anything for that matter) what I want you to do is simply stop and think for yourself.

To start asking yourself how you feel about drinking…. to see if you resonate with anything I’ve mentioned, and to see if you too could start to challenge the assumptions modern society has placed upon you about drinking. *glug glug*

Could you go a week without drinking? A month? What changes in your social habits would you need to make in order to do this? How would your friends and workmates react?

After almost 10 years in Recruitment (an industry body known for enjoying the ‘odd tipple‘ *cough*) I can hand on heart say that I still enjoy a deep spicy glass of Shiraz, and smooth and velvety Central Otago Pinot Noir, and love the giggly brain-fuzz and silliness from a ridiculously over-priced glass of Champagne…. but my attitude to drinking is slowly changing.

With glorified boozing in adverts tempting me… And bars full of laughing, smiling, beautiful people – waving about their bottles of beer and oh-so-tempting glasses of chilled Pinot Gris as I wander past …I almost feel like I’m ‘sticking it to the man’ some days…. so yeah, fight the power and whatnot, I’m off to pour myself a stiff tea.

 

The things we humans obsess over (part 1)

Lounging around in bed this morning, putting off the inevitable part of the day where I get up and pretend to be a responsible adult, I found myself reading an article about the Oscars most important fashion moments (or some equally inane drivel) and promptly gave myself an internal donk on the head.

This was an article about image, style, impression, capturing a moment, icons, zeitgeist and the like all wrapped up in a piece of material draped around a body. Because that’s just it, isn’t it? It’s material? Didn’t we first decide to wrap ourselves in things because we don’t have fur? Wasn’t it so we didn’t freeze our nips off in the ice age? Or was it because of a gaping realisation that we were cruising around nekkid in a fabulous garden (and had been for ages, why didn’t someone say something??) and thought that a leaf would be an appropriate cover for the bits the god gave us?

So when did necessity (the mother of invention, and by that logic the father of pants) become such an obsession? It’s not ‘what you’re wearing’ but “who are you wearing dahhling?” and since when did we judge a persons worth on their ability to look good in a piece of fabric?

And why (this is the biggest issue of all really) do I own so many dresses, and yet constantly find myself looking for more?

Pants are overrated, but what’s so awful about the human body that we’re all more obsessed with covering it up, than embracing the glorious-ness of our own bits?

Why do we need to primp, preen, nip, tuck, starve, paint and hide ourselves…. why do we let that piece of material speak for us?

 

Video: How We Perceive Stress

Another piece of Upworthy gold. If you haven’t checked out this website, you should. Rather than waste time reading about spoon-fed ‘news’ items, and subscribing to the cult of celebrity… why not instead watch a couple of truly inspiring short videos that could quite literally open your eyes and show you the goodness in the world?

This little video explains how we perceive stress, what happens in the body under stress, and how the physical and chemical reaction can be changed completely – just by the way we choose to perceive stress. Powerful stuff.

VIDEO HERE.

 

Remembering to stay awake

Ironically after a 11.5 hour day at work, where I was so caught up in the NOISE and BUSYNESS of my working life, it took a kindness to remind me that I am in charge of my mental and emotional state.

 

Taxi-ing home this evening, my head full of busy-thoughts and busily tapping away at my iPhone, I tipped my lovely taxi driver (we don’t tip in NZ but I always round up my total) when he leaned over and said to me “have you seen the moon?”

 

“Oh yes! The super moon? It’s beautiful” I replied.

 

“My daughter told me that this moon happens only every two years, and even if you can’t see it because of the clouds, it still up there shining”

 

…….

Still puts a smile on my face now, hours later… And just the little reminder that I needed. Even you’re busy being BUSY… life is there waiting for you to pay attention.

 

 

…Make every Monday matter

Read a great little article the other day which focussed on how one man changed his own life and impacted the lives of thousands of other people – through a simple philosophy of finding a way to make every Monday matter for a whole year. Although the book he wrote was published over four years ago, I was surprised that I hadn’t come across it yet.

(excerpt ) “MATT EMERZIAN: It represents a day for all of us to do better, to be better. First, we need to stop dreading Mondays. If you really think about it, we have created a monster out of a day of the week, and the monster is so powerful that it even overpowers our Sundays. So, basically two of our seven days a week are ruined because of Mondays. Not only is that ridiculous to think about, but it’s also pretty sad”

As someone who tries to slide into Mondays in the least painful way possible – this theory really resonated with me.. and I think I’ll be doing some more reading on his website to find out more about how I can make every Monday matter too.

Full article here
Matt’s website here

…and that, my friends, was 2010

What a huge year – full of upheaval, change, challenge, laughter, sunshine, rain, music and lots and LOTS of cooking. I have some big plans for 2011 and it’s already shaping up to be an interesting year…

This is always a natural time for reflection and goal setting – and I would much rather people set goals, than berated themselves with ‘new years resolutions’

Why? Resolutions fall into the “Oh god, I should (start doing/stop doing) *insert action here* ”

A “should” isn’t a goal – it’s not exciting, tangible, realistic OR acheiveable.. and thats why people get so guilty when the ‘resolution’ falls to the wayside..

So this year, if you please, start setting some GOALS for yourself… (rather than slightly drunken promises!) and as a new year present I’m even going to post up some of my tips for effective goal setting…

But first: I am off to start cooking for a big boxing day picnic, and then we are off on our summer holiday road trip. Were the very tangible, exciting and realistic goals I have set for myself are: relaxation, much book reading, laughter, music, dancing, hugs, and feeling the sun on my face and a sea breeze in my hair.

•°o.O(happy holidays)O.o°•

 

Little wisdoms

After catching up with a friend yesterday over breakfast, we got on to the topic of negative self-talk, and how utterly devastating this can be for your self-worth. It also reminded me of a fantastic little book I stumbled upon called ‘fast food for the soul‘ by Barbara Berger.

I’m constantly amazed by what you ‘stumble upon’ when you make a conscious decision to change your life, and in this ‘easily digestible’ little book what I found echoed my personal realisations about self-talk, and reiterated how powerful this message was to share with my coaching clients.

“Your thoughts are the architects of your destiny” – this is one of my favourite quotes and something I believe very strongly. Reading this book of little wisdoms is a great reminder of the power of your thoughts – and your ability to harness them as a tool for change.

Barbara’s website can be found here – and the book can either be purchased on her site or through Amazon. I stumbled across the book at my local library… so really there’s nothing stopping you ‘checking it out’..

Building your career

In a fiercely competitive environment – what can you do to stand out?

To differentiate yourself from other candidates or employees – it’s important that you develop and drive your ‘Career Brand’.

ASK YOURSELF:

  • What sort of image are you presenting to your co-workers and managers?
  • Do you cultivate effective relationships and networks within your organisation and industry?

Your career brand is as much about your ‘image’ as your attitude in general – so here are a few key things you can address to take control of your personal branding:

 

TREAT YOUR JOB LIKE IT’S YOUR OWN BUSINESS

  • Ask yourself honestly: what would you do differently if your job was your business?

It is vital that you take the work you do seriously, care about the quality of the work you produce and the way you interact with clients and co-workers. Ultimately your career success is up to YOU… so if you want the returns you need to invest the energy every day.

 

FIND A MENTOR – they provide a unique sounding board for ideas, keep you focussed, give great advice, and can create career opportunities through their network of connections and contacts. Your career will go further faster with a mentor.

 

BE AWARE OF YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE – employers and recruiters use the internet too! With the prevalence of social networking sites such as facebook, bebo and myspace, an employer can investigate what you do outside of ‘office hours’ with a few simple clicks of a mouse. Pay attention to the images and language associated with your online presence.

Spend time checking out the content of these sites and what is available for the public to view – Facebook, for example; provides several privacy options that allow you to control what content shows in your profile. You should also ‘google’ yourself to be aware of any ‘dishonourable mentions’ that could pop up.

With a little forethought you can make the internet a powerful and effective branding tool by having a personal site to showcase your resume/ achievements. You can also utilise business networking sites such as ‘linked in’ – which provide a free service allowing you to reconnect with ex-colleagues and bosses.

 

WHAT IMAGE DOES YOUR BEHAVIOUR PAINT? First impressions count -it pays to keep in mind when out and about that you could be meeting a future boss or customer – if you want to be memorable be sure it’s for the right reasons.

 

WHAT DOES YOUR LANGUAGE TELL PEOPLE ABOUT YOU? If your communication with others has a negative slant – you could be tarred with that brush. To foster inspiring relationships and have the opportunity to be part of exciting initiatives in your organisation – you must be seen as positive and forward thinking.

Avoid pessimistic conversations and language – positivity can be ‘catching’ in the workplace – so choose your attitude and lead others by your example.

 

USE EFFECTIVE GOAL SETTING – effective goals are INSPIRING. They take you further than the ‘KPIs’ set in your role. They should be specific, measurable, ‘stretchy’, and be aligned with your passions and your values. Goals are personal and powerful – make them work for you.

 

WHAT DOES YOUR WARDROBE SAY ABOUT YOU? Think about the details of your physical appearance – ironed shirt? clean (non-scuffed) shoes? tidy hair? Being meticulous in your dress creates a professional image. Even if you don’t quite ‘feel’ the part – you can certainly look the part.

 

MAKE WRITTEN COMMUNICATION WORK FOR YOU

  • Are you professional, upbeat, friendly and to the point in your communication?
  • Do you send email when you could or should be picking up the phone instead?

Think about how your email use portrays you to others. Is your language overly-familiar? Do you use vague abbreviations or ‘text speak’? It’s easy to be misunderstood without the aid of body language or tone/ inflection of voice – so it’s worthwhile taking the time to review your written communication style and making it work for you – not against you!

 

WHAT DO YOU FOCUS ON? If you start each day dreading what’s to come – what sort of day do you think you will have? Be aware of your internal monologue and choose to STOP negative language in your mind. By focussing on the positive and telling yourself how great the day is going to be – you will attract good things to you. Try it – it works.

 

MANAGE YOUR STRESS – Generally speaking, as you move up the career ladder, stress and pressure increases: so learning to manage this now makes sense. Know your triggers, take control of your stress and do what you need to do to manage the pressures in your day. This could be a simple as getting up and walking away from your desk. If it works – do it.

 

USE NETWORKING TO YOUR ADVANTAGE – some organisations and industries require you to get attend breakfast or ‘after 5’ networking events, and this is a great way to build your career brand or profile. You get a chance to learn, promote your organisation, as well as forge important relationships within your industry. This is an opportunity not a chore!

Think about the way you interact with your colleagues at work – the relationships you create with Administrative or support staff are just as important as those with a Manager. Treating everyone with respect will ensure you get assistance when you most need it.

 

To harness opportunities in the workplace you need to be savvy about your ‘Career Brand’. Set your own standards high – and be honest with yourself about the effort you put into both your image and your attitude each day – be consistent.

You drive your success – you have the tools – so choose your direction and go for it!